Our loving God gave us the grace to follow Him. I sincerely pray you have praised Him for that grace. The best way to see through counterfeit gospels, gods, doctrines, activities, and commandments, are to know the real ones through and through. Read the Bible each day, practice memorizing scriptures. Pray deeply in your walk with the Lord, not just quickie hello prayers or “I want” prayers seeking things from Him, but giving Him your worship and devotion. Seek His face. If you possess the REAL Spirit, sealed inside you, not the fake belief that leads to destruction in the Lake of Fire, you will be able to spot the counterfeit when it comes along. And it will!
All this can bring a Christian down. It can cause one to despair and stumble, as we wonder if the tears that Jesus wipes from our face will be falling in grief because our loved ones are absent in glory.
Remember, Jesus knows this would be the circumstance in the end of days. He inspired Jude to write these words, as comforting to the church then as to us now:
A call to persevere
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, in Jude 1:18-23, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.“
These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:18-23
Doxology To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:17-25)
Witness in love, pray for the lost, and persevere dear Brother and Sister. For He is able to keep us from falling, He is the most Worthy One to whom we shall be presented in due time and in great joy. Until then, “to others show mercy.”
I came to the Lord sometime between December 10, 2003 and January 1, 2004. There were many reasons for my accepting the Truth, (besides the fact that it is the LORD who opens eyes and hearts) but one of them was a long-time curiosity with how the world got started and a dissatisfaction with the secular answer of evolution, Big Bang, and simple chance. During this time of my peak curiosity, I was fortunate to be able to travel the world for ten years. I saw many sunsets, the majestic Alps, active volcanoes, the Northern Lights, myriad exotic animals, the ocean at peace and in turmoil, and I would think, ‘there HAS to be more to it than a Bang…this is all so beautiful and delicately complex.’ In this, the scripture in Romans 1:20 comes into play, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Eventually, I clearly saw, and I understood. More important, I believed.
When we repent and come into reconciliation with Jesus, He sends the Holy Spirit into us and the Spirit begins the work of regenerating sanctification. Because we are born dead, spiritually empty and carnally minded, when the Spirit comes, He enlivens us and begins the work of shaping us like clay into the Lord’s likeness. Here are but two verses that remind us that He grows us sovereignly and perfectly:
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16:14)
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
The change is not instant. We go from one who is dead in the flesh to one who is bearing all the good fruit is that the Spirit nurtures in us (Galatians 5:22-26). Even the Apostle Paul battled flesh (Romans 7:15). But through constant submission, prayer, study of the word, and good works-bearing fruit, the Spirit leads us into good things, which will be completed on the day we are glorified in body at the rapture or upon our death. (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
But sometimes it is hard to detect if we can see this change in ourselves. In growth by degrees you don’t see it at first. On our first day of school when I see the little kindergarteners I’d worked with last year, I notice that they have sprung up like weeds! I notice it because I had not seen them for 8 weeks. But do I notice growth or change in them day in and day out during the school year? Not so much.
And that’s outward, physical growth. It is even harder to detect fruit-bearing, spiritual growth in myself.
The Bible says for us to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2). So I do. I ponder heaven, and the Spirit and Jesus and the things He has told us in the Bible.
One day I was musing along in my mind and thought of the statue of the David I’d seen in Italy. It was a beautiful piece of work, so lifelike carved out of marble! ‘It will be gone someday,’ I thought, ‘As will all man-made art.’ I shook my head. But then another thought popped into my mind. “Hey! I can go over and see the REAL David!” My mind was no longer on earthly things but realized that a greater treasure was the resurrected, glorified and perfected David that the Lord had personally set as King of Israel! I laughed out loud. The real David, how about that! I began to get a glimmer of just how beautiful the Lord’s work is in us and that there will be many more things that will be stunningly beautiful that my brain can’t even conceive of but was just getting a tiny glimpse of. Slowly and surely the Holy Spirit does His work in us, praise God.
As we grow, we let go of earthly things and trust the fact that no matter how lovely the man-made things of earth are; like soaring bridges, stately buildings, beautiful art, the LORD is preparing a place for us that will be astoundingly beautiful, the foremost beauty of which are the glorified and redeemed people populating the place through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. And more than that, Christ Himself is the most beautiful of all!
RC Sproul used to talk of beauty from the Bible and especially how beautiful God is. He said,
Other texts also talk about God’s beauty. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Ps. 27:4). In Psalm 29, David calls upon us to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. In both places, the Lord (or significant aspects of His character) are called “beautiful.”
We are being grown in HIS beauty!
Do you have a moment when you came across a growth marker in yourself when you realized that your response to a thought or a situation was a direct result of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit? Let’s celebrate the Spirit’s work!!
The LORD makes us some promises that are fear-inducing. Other promises He makes are awe-inspiring. Some are both at once. They are bookends of man’s folly and God’s glory.
In Joel’s prophetic book, at chapter 3 verse 10, it is written: “Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”
Most of us have heard the line that we will beat our swords into plowshares. That verse is located at Isaiah 2:4 – “And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.”
Did you know that there were opposite prophecies concerning the plowshares, the one in Joel and the other in Isaiah? God is great and His Word is great.
Growing up, I used to watch the PBS Masterpiece Theatre classic “I, Claudius”. It was about one of the least known Emperors of the Roman Empire, Claudius. Claudius is not as well known, being sandwiched in history between the more famous emperors Caligula and Nero. I was fascinated with the Roman banquets, of which the show “I, Claudius” had many. I used to wonder why they ate while reclining. It seemed cumbersome to me.
Christmas means baby Jesus. Everybody loves the baby. The swaddling clothes (so cute!) the manger (awww, really?), the Wise Man (distinguished solemnity). It is a tremendous story. It is THE story of all of history. God Himself came in flesh, incarnated solely to grow, live a perfect life, and die.
We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.
The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.
We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son’s preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness. Continue reading “Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus- Day 29, Ascension”→